Book Report: Slouching Toward Production

The Book-in-Progress is slowly but surely moving toward being the Book-in-Production. There isn’t an officially official date yet, but I’ve gotten what should be the last round of edits, and been told that it should be out this fall, just in time for holiday gift-buying.

Between the book and my class, I don’t have a great deal of spare mental energy for blogging. Here are a few notes from the ongoing book work, though:

  • I am amused to discover that the official way to enter a cross-reference is to put “Page XXX” in the text. Not the page number, mind, the exact string “Page XXX.” I’m told that the production people will find and insert the appropriate page number.
  • It’s really difficult to proofread a host of minor edits scattered through 240-odd manuscript pages.
  • One of the most difficult things in this process has been that new results keep coming out. I spent a while agonizing over whether to insert a one-sentence mention of Chris Monroe’s lastest teleportation results. This would be much simpler is scientists would just take a hiatus until I’m done with the manuscript.
  • I got sent an author questionnaire, asking for biographical information and other publicity-type stuff. Included in the long list of questions is “Are you a member of BJ’s/ Sam’s Club/ Costco?”
  • I’m pleased to discover that I don’t hate the book yet. Or maybe that’s a bad sign– I gather that loathing your own writing is a prerequisite for finishing a book.
  • I made a bunch of revisions yesterday, and last night I gave Kate, my alpha reader, copies of the three chapters that had the most substantive changes in the last round of revisions. She read them over while SteelyKid was napping, and gave me back a whole bunch of comments and suggested changes. None of which involved text that I added or edited yesterday.

That last one really puts things in perspective– one of these chapters has been read and re-read, and revised and re-revised about twenty times. And there are still tweaks to be made. It’s a good reminder that “done” does not mean “perfect.”